Garrett Durland April 16, 2013 No Comments

From L to R, Garrett Durland, Allan Saunders, Cheryl Caiozzo, Joseph Latella, Sharon Callender, Lorenzo Jackson, Toni Kallenburg, Stuart Durland, and Joan ‘Seely’ Durland. Joan is Harry Seely’s daughter.

Travelers Executives visited our office earlier this week to help us celebrate our 100th year of involvement with the Travelers Insurance Company.   The event took place at Grappa Ristorante in Warwick, NY.  Harry “Poppy” Seely began with Travelers Insurance in their New York City office in 1912 at the age of 22.  He moved up with the company and took a position in Worcester MA somewhere around 1918.  He was then hired by a very large Travelers brokerage firm in Montreal Canada, who wrote marine insurance on the large steamship lines in and around the Great Lakes.

He decided that with young kids it was time to move back to his roots, being born and raised in Goshen NY.  So they settled in Warwick on
Grand St. in 1934 and he opened our Agency with four insurance carrier partners, Travelers being the lead company.

As business grew…he needed a partner and offered our Dad and his son-in-law, Kenneth L. Durland, Jr., a position in the business with him.  They moved up from Washington DC in 1959 (with my older brother and sister) and moved into the Grand Street house which Harry had built in 1948.  He and my grandmother built an addition/apartment onto the house and we took over the main house, where the business was also run on the ground floor.  The business thrived over the next few years and Harry offered our Dad a partnership; Seely & Durland, Inc. was incorporated in 1962.

Harry passed away in 1966, prematurely at the age of 76 in a car accident while visiting his favorite place in the world,
Banff Canada.  It was a tough time for Ken after Harry’s passing, but he forged ahead and continued to grow the business.

I joined the firm in December of 1980; Stuart joined in April of 1990 after 12 years working with Travelers in Hartford CT and Norcross, GA starting right out of college.  Ken retired at the end of 1996 after seeing the business triple in size during the previous 6 years.  The business moved to its’ current location at 13 Oakland Ave. in 1979 and continues to grow and thrive today.

We are proud of such a long term relationship with a great company, and also that they gave Harry Seely the opportunity to start and nurture a 79 year old business!